BERLIN, Dec 8 (Reuters) - Bayern Munich were held to a goalless draw at home to Duisburg on Saturday but still clung on to top spot in the Bundesliga as rivals Werder Bremen lost a 4-3 thriller at Hanover 96.
Duisburg rarely looked like claiming a first win away to Bayern in 40 years but they held out comfortably enough, even after Mohamadou Idrissou was sent off for kicking keeper Oliver Kahn with 10 minutes to go.
The result meant Werder would have taken over at the top with a win but Thomas Schaaf's side were outplayed in Hanover.
Werder did manage to fight back from 3-1 to level the scores early in the second half but Mike Hanke completed his hat-trick to clinch victory for Hanover 13 minutes from time.
Werder's frustration was obvious as Hugo Almeida was sent off in injury time for tangling with Szabolcs Huszti.
With one round of matches to go before the long mid-season break, Bayern lead the standings with 35 points from 16 games.
Werder are second on 33, with Hamburg third on 31 after they had to settle for a goalless draw at home to bottom club Energie Cottbus.
On a day when the top three all dropped points, the big winners were improving champions VfB Stuttgart.
They overcame VfL Wolfsburg 3-1 thanks to goals from Ciprian Marica, Cacau and Thomas Hitzlsperger and after a dreadful start to their title defence they now stand 10 points behind the leaders in eighth place.
The shock of the day was Bayern's failure to see off Duisburg.
The Bavarians went close with a Martin Demichelis header in the first half but had no other clear chances before the break and they improved only slightly after the interval.
'We had one or two chances but really we started very badly,' coach Ottmar Hitzfeld told reporters. 'We did increase the pressure in the second half but we were too static at the start. We've lost two points here.'
They were fortunate that Werder Bremen, who face a decisive Champions League match against Olympiakos Piraeus on Tuesday, fell to a surprise defeat.
'We played a great game but sadly we just made too many mistakes,' said Werder coach Schaaf.